The Twins have embarked upon a search for a new skipper after the somewhat surprising decision to remove Paul Molitor from the post. He had been a holdover appointee from the prior front office regime. The current hiring process, then, will represent the first opportunity for chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine to install their own preferred voice in the dugout.
As we have done with other openings of this kind, we’ll use this post to track the early developments in the hiring process in Minnesota.
- The Twins have interviewed Astros bench coach Joe Espada, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. (Fancred’s Jon Heyman had previously noted the Twins’ interest in doing so.) Espada is in his first season as Alex Cora’s successor in that role, and he’s already drawn reported interest from the Angels and the Rangers in their own managerial searches.
- Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde has interviewed with the Twins, per 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link). The 45-year-old served as the Cubs’ first base coach for three years prior to ascending to bench coach. He has five years of minor league managing under his belt and has been tied to numerous managerial postings around the league.
- Rays field coordinator Rocco Baldelli has interviewed, too, Wolfson tweets. Still just 37, he’s spent four years on the Rays’ staff since retiring as a player earlier this decade. Baldelli’s role as field coordinator was created in advance of the just-completed campaign and represented an expansion of his duties, seemingly to encompass some more forward-thinking approaches for the famously experimental organization.
- Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens has interviewed with the Twins, per Wolfson. Meulens has been a popular candidate in previous managerial searches and has 15 years of coaching experience –mostly as a hitting coach. The Curacao native has also managed Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
- Wolfson adds that current Twins bench coach Derek Shelton has also interviewed. He has ample experience in MLB dugouts, but only just finished his first season in his current role. Hired away from the Blue Jays, where he functioned as a quality control coach, Shelton spent the prior dozen years as a hitting coach with the Rays and Indians.
- The Twins have already held a meeting with hitting coach James Rowson, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. While his coaching background is somewhat specialized in the hitting arena, Rowson has obviously drawn positive attention from the front office. As Neal describes it, he’s an “ebullient” presence in the clubhouse.
Expected To Interview
- Also per Neal, the Twins would like to host chats with recently retired David Ross. A long-time backstop, Ross played as recently as 2016, wrapping up his playing career with the World Series-champion Cubs.
Other Potential Candidates
- The Twins at least performed some background work on Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy, Wolfson (via Twitter). Murphy is obviously tied up for the moment assisting manager Craig Counsell in the Milwaukee organization’s postseason run. The former interim Padres manager has held the Brewers bench coach position since the 2016 campaign.
- Wolfson also tabs Indians bench coach Brad Mills as a name to watch. (Twitter link.) His prior experience with Falvey, who came over from the Cleveland front office, certainly makes Mills an obvious potential candidate. Whether he’ll be asked to interview isn’t yet known. With the Indians’ season just drawing to a close, though, that seems reasonably likely to take place.
Not Under Consideration
- The Twins had reportedly hoped to chat with recently retired big leaguer and current MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa, per Neal, but “DeRo” is happy in his current role and is not pursuing managerial openings despite interest from multiple clubs, per reports from Morosi and Heyman (Twitter links).